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Empire Franchise Group to be Hemp ‘Kings,’ Co-Founder Vows


Greg George, left, and Dennis McKinley joined forces to form the Empire Franchise Group and purchase Carolina Hemp Company.

Greg George is not shy about predicting the future for Carolina Hemp Company, the first acquisition under the newly formed Empire Franchise Group umbrella.

“We acquired the franchising rights for a booming CBD and hemp five-year-old company. Dennis and I are going to be the kings,” he said, referring to his new business partner, Dennis McKinley. “We’re going to smash them,”he said, meaning other competitors. 

“We own the farms. Our stores are the Maserati dealership of CBD or hemp. We’re going to educate America on CBD and hemp.”

In fact George isn’t modest about any of his many business ventures, including the latest, the formation of Empire Franchise Group. Empire is a new holding company that now owns Franchise Genies, George’s franchise development company, and incorporates Detroit Equities, described by its owner McKinley as a small venture capital firm.

George will supply the franchise development chops to brands under the umbrella. Miller will lend financial and other expertise when the pair identifies small franchises to acquire or prospective franchisees that cannot gain traditional financing.

Says George: “I’ve been doing this for 20 years and most of the brands that I see they lack organization, they lack marketing and infrastructure, and they don’t know how to sell a franchise. Where I personally sold over 3,000 franchises, so I know how that works.”

The deal will bring a total of 12 brands under their management umbrella. Besides Carolina Hemp Company, George is particularly bullish on Roll On In Sushi Burritos & Bowls and Buzzed Bull Creamery, which offers booze-infused ice cream and milkshakes.

Both are “going through the roof,” he said. “There is no franchise on the planet where you can get infused alcohol in milk shakes,” he said. As for Roll On In, “have you ever had a sushi donut?”he asks. “It will blow your damn mind.”

He said there are about 12 units total of those two brands open today and 28 under construction. “This is over the past six or seven months.”

Asked what franchises need to do to gain attention from George and McKinley, George numbers them off. “That is a wonderful question. To get in a room with Dennis and I you have to have five things, or I should say eight things, or you’re out.”

“One you have to have a great name.

“Two you have to have a great product. We’re not into marginal or mediocre.

“Three, you have to have an aesthetically pleasing”shop.

“Four, the backbone of the business has to be legendary service.”

And he rattled off four more in crisp fashion. Then he made his final prediction. “I don’t know how long you’ve worked" at Franchise Times, he said to me, “but before you know it, Dennis and I are going to be on the cover.”

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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